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Shah Kul’s demarcation, encroachment | HC seeks action taken report on 2003 communication

It also seeks directions for the restoration of adjoining roads encroached upon by two private persons.
01:29 AM May 04, 2024 IST | D A RASHID
shah kul’s demarcation  encroachment   hc seeks action taken report on 2003 communication
High Court of Jammu and Kashmir
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Srinagar, May 3: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has sought an action report taken by the authorities on a communication issued by the Director of Land Records in 2003 regarding the demarcation and eviction of encroachers on ‘Shah Kul’, a historical canal and national monument in Srinagar.

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“This court desires to know the actions taken or processes undertaken under the said direction, for which the relevant records shall be produced by the next date of hearing,” the Division Bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi said listing a related Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for further hearing on May 8.

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The court ordered producing the records after Advocate Shafqat Nazir representing the petitioner drew the attention of the court to the communication dated March 10, 2003, from the Director Land Records and Settlement Officer, Kashmir, whereby it was ordered that a demarcation be conducted on March 11, 2003, by a team of experienced officials and eviction of encroachers be carried out, if any, by the staff from Srinagar municipality and Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) within a week.

Besides the government, the court had also issued notice to two private persons from Deewan Colony Ishber Nishat (Respondent No 18 and 19), who according to the petitioner, Mir Muhammad Shafi, were engaged in illegal construction by raising the concrete walls.

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As no one appeared for Respondent No 19, the court set him ex parte as was said earlier.

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“We again make it clear in line with observations made by this court on December 27, 2023, that any illegal construction undertaken without following the due process of law will be at the risk of involved parties and will be dealt with by law, including demolition of the same,” the bench said.

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The PIL seeks the court’s intervention for the removal of all illegal encroachments and restoration of the original status of the historical canal.

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It also seeks directions for the restoration of adjoining roads encroached upon by two private persons.

While the PIL seeks directions for constituting a high-level committee comprising an officer of ACB and other investigation wings to investigate the “gross mismanagement of the official respondents (authorities)”, it calls for an investigation by CBI to inquire into the conduct of the officials in the matter.

The petitioner has also put as “annexure”, a copy of Greater Kashmir dated March 9, 2003, with the petition wherein the newspaper had highlighted the encroachments of the Shah Kul with photographs which attested to these encroachments.

It also seeks directions for the restoration of adjoining roads encroached upon by the two private persons.

Besides other things, the petitioner has referred to a communication by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to Directorate Land Records in 2004 that Shah Kaul, “having national monumental value and a main source of supplying water to Nishat Garden since the time of King Jahangir, has been encroached upon, resulting into loss of lakhs of rupees because the water required for Nishat Garden is being now lifted through mechanical pumps”.

The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, had sought the removal of all types of encroachments on the canal and had also ensured appropriate action against the culprits.

“However, no action has been taken,” the petitioner contended.

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